Through handling responsibilities at a level available only in boarding schools, children become responsible and self-reliant, believes Sumer Singh, Principal, Daly College Indore. In conversation with Elets News Network, he explains how recognition of a child’s success by peers raises his level in all spheres
Is academic excellence a matter of concern to the teachers and management?
In a boarding school, a student has much more opportunity to discover his or her talents and strengths because of the wider range of sports, cultural, intellectual and adventurous activities available. This, combined with a focus on the individual child and recognition of his success in any field by peers, helps build self-confidence which raises his level in all spheres.
Is boarding school the right place for students whose parents have broken homes or facing separation?
Boarding schools are a miniature reproduction of the Indian multiregional, multisocial and multiethnic society. There is place for all.
How far does psychological counselling play a role in integrating the children with boarding schools?
The family needs to be unanimously supportive of the boarding school for the child to settle. The counselling required by, say a grandmother, is important before the child can settle. Once the child settles, then the majority do not need counselling. However, we all need counselling to a lesser or greater degree.
What are the challenges of administering a boarding school?
It is a full-time job with more challenges and more rewards. A majority of children keep in touch long after they leave school.
What are the demands placed by parents on the school?
Parents, especially mothers, are far more involved in the education of their children. Families come from different cultural backgrounds and have varied aspirations and expectations. These differences need to be rejected without compromising on the essential values and principles the school stands for.
On what parameters does one judge a boarding school?
A boarding school has a real opportunity to inculcate values and responsible citizenship. Therefore good behavior is one parameter. Others are a sense of compassion, camaraderie and a sense of humour. Finally, through a system of sharing with and supporting each other, a boarder is better adjusted to changing fortunes and conditions and his friendship will stand every test including that of time.
Do you hunt for global talent like recruiting teachers from other countries?
Only on a short-term basis. For example, we have a special fund to invite overseas coaches, teachers and poets.
What is the unique selling point that attracts parents to your institution?
Our down to earth students and the varied exposure, including global, that we provide.
Is boarding school meant only for rich and pampered brats? Or do you have any policy to reach out to bright students from poor families?
This is a question that pre-supposes we are an expensive school. We are not. Parents spend at least as much, if not more in a day school.
Is rampant indiscipline, drugs, alcohol, etc. in boarding schools a matter of one’s imagination? If not, how does the school address it?
As I have not witnessed this in the seven schools I have worked in, I would suspect it is the imagination of those who are unfamiliar with or even denied a good education.